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General Sanders Calls for Citizen Army Amidst Growing Tensions

In a notable address on Wednesday, General Sir Patrick Sanders, the outgoing Chief of the General Staff (CGS), emphasised the need for Britain to “train and equip” a “citizen army” to prepare for potential land war scenarios. However, he cautioned that even such measures might be insufficient, pointing to allied nations in eastern and northern Europe already “laying the foundations for national mobilisation.”

The remarks, initially reported by the Daily Telegraph, suggest a growing concern about the possibility of British men and women being called up to the armed forces if NATO engages in a conflict with Russia. General Sanders stressed that increasing Army numbers would require a “whole-of-nation undertaking,” stressing the necessity for broader preparation beyond the regular military forces.

Downing Street, while acknowledging the warnings, has explicitly ruled out implementing a conscription model for the British army. The Prime Minister’s official spokesperson emphasized the government’s commitment to the voluntary nature of British military service, stating, “The British military has a proud tradition of being a voluntary force. There are no plans to change that.” The spokesperson also dismissed hypothetical scenarios about potential future conflicts as “not helpful.”

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps echoed this sentiment earlier in the week, denying claims that the army’s size was diminishing. He affirmed that under the Conservative government, the army’s numbers would not fall below the current level of approximately 73,000 troops.

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